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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have posted a question regarding the light that comes with one of the following kits. Now I am trying to push it a bit farther.

I have three potential aquarium setups that my wife and mother are looking at for xmas. I would prefer the first listed, but am afraid that the cost of getting it to a low light setup might be a bit much. So I guess my question for those with more experience in low-tech planted tanks than I can help figure out the least expensive way to reach the lighting required to grow low light plants.

The three kits are from one of the big box stores, petco unfortunately does not have the glass kits listed on their site.

36 gal deluxe bow front aquarium kit. (30"L x 15"W x 21"H) (169.99)
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3804459
this is my preferred kit.

26 gal. deluxe bw front kit. (24"L x 15"W x 21"H) (139.99)
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3804460
second preferred kit.

37 gal standard tank starter kit. (30"w X 12" D X 22" H) (149.99)
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3477413
last preferred.

I need to keep this as low cost as possable in terms of lighting. I am looking at a possable layoff at the end of dec. (happy xmas right?:eek5:)

I currently have a 10 gal. that is doing great. My list of plants include Amazon swords, Cryptocoryne Wendtii (red), four leaf clover, Java Moss, moss balls, anacharis, Anubias Nana, and some micro sword. They will be moved into a new tank.

Petco does have a 26 gal bow front tank kit that includes a versa top, and a single bulb fixture for roughly the same price as petsmart's kit.

Thank you in advance for the help, and letting me bug you guys :)
 

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Any of the coralife T5 normal outputs would work, at around $50 depending on which one you chose. Here is one that would fit the 36 gal. bowfront.

Any of these should give you enough light to grow low-light plants easily.
 

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If you buy a kit you will regret it. I just bout a 29 gallon kit 10 months ago for 110. First of all the hob filter is terrible. (mine is a wisper 30) So i need to change that out. Then i swapped the light out for a 65 pc. Got it off ebay for 35 bucks with shipping included. If i would have bought glass only i would have got an eheim filter with good lighting for 50 bucks more then the kite. My point is go on craigslist and watch for good deals. Well thats my opion. If not i would go with the top option. The tank looks very nice.
 

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I also don't vote for kits. Any time I've bought one I've ended up upgrading this, that, or the other and spending 2x the amount than if I'd started off buying the components individually. Keep in mind that the tank itself is usually the cheapest part of any planted tank setup. Lights, filters, CO2 (if going pressurized) and substrate are usually the high-ticket items.

+1 Craigslist is a good place to score a deal on a tank.
 

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A 40 gallon breeder tank is only 16 inches high, so a 96 watt PC light from AH Supply would give very high light intensity on it, not medium light. It is the distance from the light to the substrate that defines the intensity of the lighting, not the watts divided by the tank volume. If you suspend the light several inches above the tank you do get medium light, as well as very uniform lighting in the tank. But, you will face problems if you place that light right on top of that tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the good replys. I had priced a set built by individual components and the cost was quite a bit higher than going with a kit. I do know that I will have to upgrade individual components to get to where I am wanting to go. My wife needs a "all in one" idea so she will not get stressed as to what to get, and what not to get. I do have an extra filter sitting around the house I will add to compensate for the substandard filter until money comes back again. The big issue I had was lighting, since it can be the most expensive part of a low-med. light planted tank. I do not plan to add CO2, the natural planted tanks (low-med light) are more appealing to me.
 

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The link from craiglist is like dang for me. I want that 20" light fixture 28w. Since you live close to big cities why dont u go to phoneix and look at some pet stores there and buy glass only or light fixtures from stores.
 

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Does the 36 gallon bow front come with a stand? Are you planning to use a stand? If so, $170 is a good price for the kit. I would sell the light and the filter unused on craigslist or ebay and then get what you want.

Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Does the 36 gallon bow front come with a stand? Are you planning to use a stand? If so, $170 is a good price for the kit. I would sell the light and the filter unused on craigslist or ebay and then get what you want.

Pat
the kit does not come with the stand (I have one for a tank that size already)

I think I will stop into Petsmart later today to price individual components again. the website really does not show all they have in the store.
 

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the kit does not come with the stand (I have one for a tank that size already)
I think I will stop into Petsmart later today to price individual components again. the website really does not show all they have in the store.
In my opinion, a chain pet supply store is the wrong place to shop if you might be facing a layoff. Craig's list, thrift shops, and Free Cycle are where I'd start. Unfortunately there are lots of folks already off work who are trying to pickup a bit of cash by selling their tank setups. Patience will get you everything you will really want for less than one of those kits. Check your local fish clubs too. Many people are upgrading or selling out due to age or fatigue.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Pulling the thread back from the dead for an update. Well I ended up with an early xmas gift today. Totally unexpected. My mom asked me to bring her to lunch, while my wife was finishing up some stuff. She instead brought me to the LFS and I ended up piecing together a 36 gal bow front system. The light is on order (the one recommended above) and things will slowly come together in the next couple months. This is going to be fun :)

thanks for all the help everyone. I might start a build thread. But it might not be pretty lol, this is now the second planted tank I have done, so I am still pretty wet behind the ears.
 
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